On July 25th, 2019 Governor Roy Cooper joined the Lumbee Tribal Council at the Lumbee Tribal Administration Building in Pembroke, NC to sign Senate Bill S218 into law. The new law amended the text that describes how the State of North Carolina recognizes the tribe (see NC General Statute 71A-3) and changed it such that the state sees the tribe as a local municipality rather than a private non-profit organization. You can find some information about How NC Municipalities Work here; additionally more information can be found in the Summary of Municipal Incorporation Procedure in North Carolina document.
Municipalities are established to protect the citizens and provide residents of a particular area with urban type services. Examples are water, sewer, police, streets, transportation, recreation, garbage collection and recycling, land use planning and fire protection. Having this status/recognition allows the Lumbee Tribe to act as a local municipality and seek money from federal grants set aside for municipalities, like housing, emergency services, health grants, etc, in addition to the Indian set aside grants they were limited to before the passage of this bill. This new status could also bring jobs to their communities in addition to helping them to become more self sufficient and exercise their sovereignty. Another thing that they may take advantage of is the willingness of banks to loan money to a municipality rather than a private non-profit. In addition to the article provided above, there are several articles in the Robesonian that state the same things I mentioned above. Having this recognition by the State could also aid the Lumbee Tribe in a push for Federal recognition in the future. Hopefully the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe’s equivalent bill, S489, will move along soon too!